Hongkong Electric Holdings has agreed to buy 45 per cent of three mainland plants from major shareholder Cheung Kong Infrastructure Holdings for HK$5.68 billion. The stakes involved in the deal were in the Zhuhai Power Plant in Guangdong, neighbouring Jinwan Power Plant and Siping Cogen Power Plant in Jilin, the companies said in a joint statement. Hongkong Electric said the purchase would help bring in new earnings, given that profits from those stakes totalled HK$1.127 billion last year and HK$677 million in 2007. 'We have been looking for some time for an opportunity to invest in the China power market and this transaction will allow us to acquire very high-quality generating assets, most of which are strategically located in Guangdong province adjacent to Hong Kong,' said Hongkong Electric group managing director Tso Kai-sum. CKI, which owns 38.87 per cent of Hongkong Electric, is expected to book a HK$1.348 billion gain from the sale this year. The group said it would use the proceeds to boost its liquidity and for acquisitions in infrastructure projects. After the disposal, CKI will provide operation and management services for the plants for an initial term of three years, with the maximum annual fees capped at HK$35 million. The three plants have a combined generating capacity of 2,800 megawatts and will boost Hongkong Electric's capacity on an equity basis to 8,457 MW. The Zhuhai and Jinwan facilities are installed with flue gas desulfurisation plants, while Siping is partially equipped and in undergoing a full upgrade. CKI shares closed down 0.34 per cent at HK$29.05 yesterday before the deal was announced. Hongkong Electric fell 1.02 per cent to HK$43.55.